JETAA International Meeting: A major step forward
The second JETAA International Meeting presented a unique opportunity to showcase the progress and projects of JETAAI and to chart a course for the next 3 years.
The second International Meeting (IM) for JETAA-I 2.0 was held in Tokyo from November 29th to December 1st 2019, bringing together representatives of all 17 member countries as well as observers from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the two active Japan chapters in Tokyo and Western Japan. Participants also included representatives from National AJET, CLAIR, and the three ministries that administer the JET Programme (Education, Foreign Affairs, and Internal Affairs & Communications).
Building on the last IM, held in 2016 following the reformation of JETAA-I in 2015 and 2016, and the subsequent three years of work by the core JETAA-I team led by the Chair and Vice Chair to lay the foundation for “2.0” to function as the primary communication and coordination network for the global JET alumni community, this IM provided the opportunity to introduce these efforts to the assembled participants and enlist their help in moving these projects forward.
Over the course of two and a half days, there were presentations and discussions on a wide range of topics, including challenges and objectives for JETAA-I itself, activities being undertaken by NAJET, alumni initiatives in areas such as sister-city & state support, securing post-graduate study opportunities for alumni, developing KenJETkai groups, and working to support current JETs through improving access to mental health and sexual security resources. The major overarching objective for discussions was to find ways that JETAA-I can work with NAJET, CLAIR, and the three ministries to collaborate on further
advancing these efforts, and a number of specific actions were identified and agreed to.
Improving communications with MOFA was one other important topic that had not been addressed heretofore. This has become an increasingly important issue as new alumni groups are being formed in Guam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with others also being discussed, and the various stakeholders have had to wrestle with a degree of confusion and lack of coordination in supporting these efforts. Here, too, the IM provided a valuable opportunity to exchange information and clear up some misunderstandings about the role of each stakeholder and their perspective on the issues at hand. One important accomplishment here was establishing a direct line of communication between the JETAA-I
Executive Officers and MOFA in Tokyo to improve communications going forward.
Along with the adoption of a number of bylaw amendments and operational guidelines to improve the functioning of 2.0, the final day of the IM also saw the creation of 11 working groups comprised of current and former JETs to carry forward work on initiatives of critical concern to everyone. These groups are:
Mental health & sexual security
Onboarding of Country Representatives
Small chapter support
Post-JET study & work opportunities
JET Tech Desk
Membership growth & development
JET Writers Guild
Anyone interested in learning more about these groups or anything else concerning the IM and the ongoing activities of JETAA-I is encouraged to contact the core team at JETAA-I, including the Executive Officers, Webmaster, and Board, or any of the Country Reps or observers from the participant countries. Contact information can be found at https://www.jetaainternational.org/contact or by going to the online resources for each country at https://www.jetaainternational.org/jetaa-chapters.
The 2019 IM was a major accomplishment for the nascent JETAA-I 2.0, but is only one step in the ongoing work to more fully realize the potential for current and former JETs to contribute to the goals of the JET Programme and to support them in their lives on the Programme and beyond.